's sophomore year, Shiffer
convinced CJ to come out, not to play, but to be part of the team.At first he worked as a filmer while helping coaches with drills on the field during spring practice.CJ
returned in August where he
was elevated to equipment guy.
, himself a former football player for the Mountaineers
, was willing to give him a chance.
But it would come with a catch.He
could practice as a player every day and suit up for home games, but he
would be in his
warm up suit on the sideline at away games, reverting back to his
role as equipment guy instead of player.He
was just too valuable as the equipment guy.
All CJ wanted was the chance, and he
literally jumped in with both feet.He
was rusty and out of shape after three years of not playing, but he
knew the real test would be how he
was treated by the players.
be accepted or ridiculed?He
didn't have to wait long.
From the first practice, CJ
was one of the guys.Instead of teasing him, the veterans looked out for him much as he
had for them as the equipment guy.
They shouted encouragement and gave advice.When CJ
had an interception in a preseason practice, he
was mobbed as if he
just won the Super Bowl.
Of course, he
still had to do the laundry after that practice as well as after every game this season.
loads and unloads the machines with uniforms drenched with sweat, mud and blood, CJ
still dreams of playing.
Mansfield was at West Chester on Saturady and CJ
was the equipment guy, but he
still has one more chance when the Mountaineers
close out the season at Karl Van Norman Field this Saturday.
It's Senior Day, and CJ
is one of 12 seniors who will be honored in pregame ceremonies, but he'll be thinking of something else as his
name is announced.